ATHENS, Ohio – Freshman forward Ben Roderick (Powell, Ohio) recorded a career night and led the Ohio men's basketball team (14-14, 6-9 MAC) to an 80-69 victory over Buffalo (18-10, 9-6 MAC) Tuesday night inside the Convocation Center, snapping a six-game losing streak to the Bulls.
"Awesome crowd tonight," first-year head coach Jeff Boals said. "The atmosphere was really big. The start to the game was huge and it got the crowd into it. Ben Roderick, coming off the missed free throw at Bowling Green, to have him put together that performance was huge for his confidence. For us, it might be the first time all year that someone other than Jason Preston led us in assists. They were double-teaming Ben Vander Plas down low and he made great reads. Unlike the other night, we bent, but we didn't' break."
Roderick recorded a career-high 21 points, shot 6-of-8 from the three-point range and 7-of-9 from the field in his second career start to lead the Bobcats to victory. Sophomore guard Jason Preston (Orlando, Fla.) added 19 points, pulled in 10 rebounds and four assists, giving him his eighth double-double of his career while redshirt sophomore Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) recorded 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
"Every day in practice I just keep getting up extra shots and watch film," Roderick said. "Tonight it just finally paid off and I just have to build on this night."
Individually, redshirt senior Jordan Dartis (Newark, Ohio) had 12 points, graduate transfer forward Sylvester Ogbonda (Port Harcourt, Nigeria) grabbed 10 rebounds and freshman guard Lunden McDay (Akron, Ohio) posted seven points and shot 5-of-6 from behind the free throw line. Redshirt junior Connor Murrell (Sioux City, Iowa) and freshman guard Miles Brown (Rochester, N.Y) each recorded two points on the night.
Overall, Ohio shot 44.4 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from the three-point range and 74.2 percent from behind the free-throw line, while Buffalo shot 33.9 percent from the field, 36.0 from the three-point range and 81.8 percent from the free-throw line. Ohio out-rebounded Buffalo 39-36 while the Bobcats dished out 15 assists to Buffalo's 11.
For Buffalo, Jayvon Graves finished with 16 points and seven rebounds while Antwain Johnson finished with 15 points.
The Bobcats opened the game up on a 14-0 run that included three made threes from Roderick and one from Vander Plas, giving Ohio an early 14-0 lead that forced a Buffalo timeout with 15:28 left in the half. Out of the timeout, a dunk from Vander Plas and a jumper from the paint by Dartis put Ohio up 18-0 before a three from Buffalo stopped the Ohio run. Four free throws from McDay and Vander Plas extended the Ohio lead before another three from Buffalo cut the Bobcats' lead to 22-6 going into the under-12 media timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Bulls went on a 10-1 run to cut the Ohio lead to 23-16 and force an Ohio timeout with 9:11 left in the half. After Buffalo cut the Ohio lead to five with 7:38 left in the half, a three from Roderick and a driving layup from Dartis out the Bobcats up eight with 6:05 left. After a UB layup, a jumper from Preston, a layup from Ogbonda and a three from Dartis put Ohio up, 37-22 with 3:50 left in the half.
Out of the final media timeout, back-to-back layups from the Bulls cut the Ohio lead to 11. However, a driving layup from Preston with 48 seconds left gave the Bobcats a 39-26 lead going into the half.
At the half, Ohio shot 42 percent from the field, 35 percent from three-point range and 70 percent from the free throw line, while Buffalo shot 33 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 50 percent from the free throw line. Ohio out-rebounded the Bulls, 22-18, while the Bobcats forced seven UB turnovers and scored eight points off of them. Ohio also dished out eight assists to the Bulls' six.
At the half, Roderick led the way with 12 points, going 4-of-6 from three-point range, while Vander Plas added eight points and four boards. Dartis added seven points, Preston had six points with five rebounds and four assists, while Ogbonda led Ohio with seven rebounds.
Buffalo got the first points of the half before free throws from Vander Plas put Ohio up 41-29. After the Bobcats and Bulls traded a few points, a three from Roderick put the Bobcats up, 46-34. After a few free throws from UB and a layup from Vander Plas, the Bobcats took a 48-38 lead into the first media timeout.
After Buffalo cut the Ohio lead to seven points with 14:50 left in the game, a layup and free throw from McDay put Ohio back up 10. A jumper from Preston and free throws from Preston and Ogbonda put Ohio up 14 before a layup from UB cut the Ohio lead to 55-43 going into the under-12 media timeout. Out of the timeout, Ohio went on a 4-0 run on back-to-back layups from Preston and Brown to put the Bobcats up 59-43 and forced a UB timeout with 10:42 left in the game.
Out of the timeout, Buffalo cut the Bobcats' lead to 10 before free throws from Preston gave Ohio a 12-point lead with 8:19 left, However, moments later, a three from Buffalo cut the Ohio lead to 61-52 going into the under-eight media timeout. After McDay hit two free throws out of the timeout and Roderick drained his sixth three of the night, the Bobcats took a 14-point lead with 5:35 left in the game. However, five-straight points from Buffalo forced an Ohio timeout and cut the lead to nine with just under four minutes to play.
Out of the timeout, a Roderick layup extended Ohio's lead before he went to the foul line. A second chance jumper from Buffalo forced the Bulls to take a timeout, but a Preston three gave the Bobcats a 12 point lead with 2:45 left to play. A series of free throws from Preston followed by a Buffalo layup led to the Bulls' final timeout. After a Dartis free throw, a Buffalo three forced an Ohio timeout with 15 seconds left in the game. Dartis hit two free throws to close out the game and give Ohio the 80-69 win over Buffalo.
Ohio takes on Kent State for the final home game of the regular season on Friday, Feb. 28 in the Convocation Center. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. and can be seen on CBS Sports Network. Prior to the game, Dartis and Ogbonda will both be honored during a pregame Senior Night ceremony.